DUBLIN -- In a gritty, defensive girls basketball game where both teams struggled offensively all night, Pinewood High was able to take control of the game late and defeat Valley Christian 37-30 to move on to the Northern California Division V final Saturday at American Canyon High.

"Sometimes it's better to win ugly than to lose pretty," Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler said. "We struggled all night, but our defense and rebounding allowed us to win this game in a tough environment. We couldn't buy a basket, but we're moving on."

With the game tied at 26-26 with about three minutes remaining, Angelina Mapa banked in a 3-point basket to give Pinewood the lead. The Panthers then put the game out of reach from the free throw line, with Marissa Hing hitting four free throws in the game's final minutes to help put away the North Coast Section Division V champs.

The Vikings had jumped out to an 11-3 lead early in the game on the strength of two 3-pointers by Emma Ayad, but Pinewood would close the gap and tie the game by the half at 14-14 behind Leeana Bade's seven first half points.

Bade would lead the Panthers with eleven while Hing chipped in with nine. Nina Bessolo led Valley Christian with 10 points with Izzy Ayad scoring nine on the night.